Once in a while you get a glimpse of actual good sense, a small slice of the truth shines through, even the corporate media. Like this: Elizabeth Farrelly
The ridge on the Rhodesian ridgeback is a mild form of spina bifida, but club rules make it "the escutcheon of the breed," instructing, further, "all ridgeless puppies shall be culled." This has softened, since the film was made, to mere prepubescent desexing, but still actively selects for genetic disease, which is no less stupid.
And it was this, I finally figured, that kept recalling the NSW Right.
Our repeated election of politicians we know to be defective similarly selects, over the years, for perfidy, cronyism and prioritisation of tribal ritual over public good.
The war in Afghanistan has made clear that democracy and tribalism don't mix. Yet here in NSW we're becoming more tribal by the moment.
Neo-tribalism, a back-to-nature movement that draws on Daniel Quinn's Ishmael, idealises the tribe as open, egalitarian and classless - much as we see Australia. But tribalism has the opposite effect, constructing from rumour, superstition, xenophobia and big-man culture a fear-based hierarchy in which the few always dominate the many.
The fallacy that tribes formed on ethnic, familial, racial or corporate loyalties can coexist within a functioning democracy is multiculturalism's fatal flaw.
We all belong to tribes. Neighbourhoods, footy teams, churches, Facebook groups, families. But a healthy democracy, as John Rawls noted, requires each of us to think and vote abstractly, as if we had no vested interest in the outcome. Tribes that - like the NSW Right - demand that their members prioritise group values over those of the general populace are deeply, dangerously anti-democratic.
This is how we get John Robertson, who once promised to "put D9s and chainsaws through Currawong if I want to" as Minister for the Environment, as well as Climate Change and Energy. It's how Minister Keneally can approve a massive 188-berth marina (half as big again as the proposed Rose Bay marina) at Lake Macquarie, with five-storey residential units on bushland - proposed by Pitt Town developer Keith Johnson ($438,000 to the NSW ALP) and call it "a lively new foreshore precinct." It's how people like Richo get paid $25,000 a month by property developers for government ''access''.
There's no law against Labor MPs filling their offices and departments with spouses, relatives and friends. It's not illegal for the party to cultivate legions of the biddable who play musical chairs between departments, consultancies and ''independent'' panels - then, when the Libs get in, dive underground like mudskippers awaiting rain.
It's not illegal, but it's cosy, nepotistic and wrong. Wrong because it produces a private clubby atmosphere where party and personal interests coincide so emphatically as to obscure all else. Wrong because it generates tentacles of power that pervade and distort organisations. And wrong because it selects for deformity, so it's those with strong, healthy values, like those ridgeless ridgeback puppies, who get culled.
In 'Collapse', Jared Diamond talks about how whole societies 'choose" to fail, but, while detailing the sequence and the consequences, he doesn't actually suggest the mechanism by which those choices are made.
This is it, the mechanism, selection for deformity. The other factor is the power law, once certain types have reached a sufficient level of penetration in a system, and it doesn't matter what that type is but nothing is more certain than that it will, like Windows or VHS or MP3, once it passes that threshold, power laws guarantee its domination, even if an objective evaluation would demonstrate the catastrophic effects it would produce.
The most important lesson we have to learn is how to break inherently suicidal power structures. I don't see a lot of evidence of that, do you?